Bristol Parks Forum is an umbrella organisation representing groups involved in parks and green spaces across the city, and have put forward a vision (link here) for the future of parks in Bristol for public comment. The document notes the many benefits and positive effects of parks, pointing out that they “play a critical role in people’s lives; and are an important part of the infrastructure of our City.”
Green councillors in Bristol have endorsed the Parks Forum’s vision, and suggested some key points that might be taken into account in a final version.
Councillor Martin Fodor said :
“This is a really positive vision which does a great job of setting out just how important parks and green spaces are to all of us. They are the lungs of the city, a place to relax and play, and a precious resource that we have to take care of for future generations. I’d ask everyone to contribute to the Parks Forums vision at http://www.bristolparksforum.org.uk/vision/ before midnight on Thursday 18th October.
“As different groups use parks in different ways we do feel there are different demands and tensions at play that should be taken into account in a final version of the vision, and we’ve laid them out in our response.”
The statement from Green councillors is below:
Support for a parks vision
Green councillors welcome and support this positive vision for Bristol’s parks and green spaces. We applaud the work of the Parks Forum and the valuable work parks groups have done over many years. Greens have been happy to contribute to discussions, management initiatives, and planting activities over many years.
As Greens we share many goals with the Parks Forum and we’ll support initiatives like this that seek ways to achieve these goals.
In support of the vision we’d like to suggest a few issues that might be taken into account when the vision is finalised and then put into practice through to 2030. These recognise some of the multiple demands and occasional tensions in parks that need to be understood and manged in a tolerant manner.
- Initiatives to make sure parks facilities and buildings are exemplars of sustainable building practices, e.g. by the use of cob, straw bale, local timber, or natural building materials;
- Facilities for dog walkers including adequate bins, and where appropriate segregated areas where dogs can run free without causing distress to other park users
- Areas for sports facilities, play, and other activities, where appropriate e.g. skate parks;
- Designated quiet routes through parks to enable cycling across the city;
- Recognition of the need to manage activities that damage parks and open spaces, e.g. erosion caused by joggers or burnt grass caused by barbecues on the ground, in a way that balances the needs of all parks users;
- The need to balance the necessity for revenue with the need to avoid over-commercialisation, avoiding pushing out local traders with corporate chains; avoiding events that close off space for prolonged periods;
- Solutions that enable volunteers to take part, without facing new obstacles e.g. insurance;
- Clarity on the management of any issues in each location – who to contact, how things will be dealt with – and with ultimate sanctions for such problems by the authority or other agencies who can use by-laws. (The recent review of by-laws took years but is now complete, and is there to provide a tool when other ways of managing things fails.);
- New uses of open spaces such as sustainable drainage solutions (so-called green/blue infrastructure) ;
- Opportunities for native species and nature areas to be created in suitable areas to allow green wildlife corridors across the city;
- A more supportive events system for non-commercial events, to ensure the bureaucracy required is proportionate to the size of an event or the organisation running it;
- Maintenance without harmful herbicides etc.